As part of their efforts to calm tension within the political sphere, the former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar together with Matthew Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese; former Vice-President Ebitu Ukiwe and Nicholas Okoh, Anglican Bishop, yesterday stormed the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission to discuss with the Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu ways and democratic processes to adopt, to make the forthcoming 2019 presidential election a successful one.
Abdulsalami who is the chairman of the peace committee seized the opportunity to urged politicians to shun violence and anything that would disrupt the forthcoming elections.
His words as quoted by the cable, “We are all aware that we are approaching the 2019 election and already you are very much aware how the polity is being heated as a result of which we have decided to step our action in ensuring that there is peace in the country and the politicians play by the rule of the game and also the security agencies and the INEC play their role accordingly.
“This morning we have interacted with the INEC chairman and his staff and also the security agencies here who have got one role or the other to perform in this election.
“All in all, we have had a briefing and later this afternoon we are going to meet the political parties and the chairmen of the 91 registered political parties in furtherance of ensuring that peace continues. We are going to listen to them, hear their complaints and also appeal to them to make sure that politics is played without bitterness.
“As you are very much aware if there is no peace in any country there would be no country at all. So this is the essence of this meeting to ensure that we are all on the same wave length.”
Meanwhile, the General Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, has said former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat in the 2015 presidential election and subsequently congratulated the winner and candidate of the All Progressives Congress,APC,Muhammadu Buhari, without its knowledge.
This came as the committee said but for his decision citing national interest above any other, the then President Jonathan, who was a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,would have arrested,prosecuted and possibly jailed key members of the then opposition APC,including Buhari, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar,for commiting treason against the Nigerian state
The revelation which is coming over three years after the 2015 election that saw Buhari defeating the then sitting president, was contained in the report the committee unveiled Tuesday,in Abuja, after a peace meeting it held with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, Prof. Mamood Yakubu,heads of security agencies, and representatives of the country’s 91 political parties.
According to a report,tagged: “2015 General Elections: The Untold Story”, published by The Kukah Centre, the National Peace Committee said it didn’t convince Jonathan to concede defeat to Buhari contrary to popular media reports.
The committee which said its primary concern “ has always been how to get the defeated candidates to accept the outcome of the election by conceding promptly and unequivocally “ so that the winner would naturally have a much easier task to be magnanimous in victory,disclosed that “the committee in the evening of March 31 requested audience with President Jonathan at the Villa.”
Going further,the committee,in the report said:” As it awaited confirmation for the meeting with the president, the Committee Chairman, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, GCFR also put a call through to General Buhari who informed him that President Jonathan had only minutes earlier called to concede the elections.” It added:”He particularly asked the Committee to please convey his good wishes to President Jonathan for his great act of statesmanship.
“Shortly after that, members of the committee who were greatly relieved, headed to the Villa where they met privately with President Jonathan and thanked him for his great courage
“At this point, the Buhari Campaign team were yet to address the press on the historic development and as such, many Nigerians got the news of the concession from General Abubakar’s brief media scrum with State House Correspondents which perhaps helped create the wrong, but widespread impression that the committee sat with President Jonathan at the Villa as the results came in and had directly prevailed on him to concede.”
The report also disclosed how Jonathan, in a meeting with the committee which has Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar as chairman,religious leaders and media mogul,Sam Amuka, as members, cited “national interest” as reason he stopped his earlier decision to press home with treasonable charges against the then APC presidential candidate, Buhari and other leaders of the party, over threats to form a parallel government if they didn’t win the election.
According to the 51-page document, Jonathan jettisoned the plan “in the interest of peace and national stability.”
Part of page 13 of the report reads: “A meeting with Jonathan was held at the Aso Rock Villa in the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25, 2015. At the meeting, he (Jonathan) raised some issues concerning the state of the nation, the threat of violence by the opposition (APC then) based on allegations that he (Jonathan) and his party were planning to rig the elections.
“He (Jonathan) noted that he took very seriously the threat by leading members of the opposition to form a parallel government in the event that they didn’t win the elections, but that he chose not to react to such apparent treasonable acts in the interest of peace.”
The report also detailed series of meetings held with leaders of the two major political parties in 2015- APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 2019: Play by the rules of the game, NPC tasks politicians
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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